False worship (Jer 19:3-19:4)

“You shall say!

‘Hear the word of Yahweh!

O kings of Judah!

O Inhabitants of Jerusalem!

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

I am going to bring such disaster

Upon this place

That the ears of everyone

Who hears of it

Will tingle.

Because the people have forsaken me.

They have profaned this place

By burning incense in it

To other gods

Whom neither they,

Nor their ancestors,

Nor the kings of Judah

Have known.

They have filled

This place

With the blood of the innocent ones.’”

The message from Yahweh to Jeremiah was clear. He was to tell the kings of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem that Yahweh was going to being disaster upon this place. When they would hear about this impending disaster, their ears would tingle. They had given up on Yahweh. Instead they had turned to burning incense to other gods, thus defiling and profaning this sacred place. Neither they, nor their ancestors, nor the kings of Judah had known these strange false gods before. They had filled this place with innocent blood.

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How could God pardon them? (Jer 5:7-5:9)

“How can I pardon you?

Your children have forsaken me.

They have sworn by those

Who are not gods.

When I fed them to the full,

They committed adultery.

They trooped to the houses of prostitutes.

They were well-fed lusty stallions.

Each was neighing for his neighbor’s wife.

Shall I not punish them for these things?

Shall I not bring retribution

On a nation such as this?’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh wanted to know from Jeremiah how he could pardon the people of Jerusalem. Their children had given up on Yahweh. They were swearing to things that were not gods at all. Even after he had fed them to the full, they went and committed adultery. They ran off to the houses of prostitution with their full bellies, like lusty stallions. They were always seeking their neighbor’s wife, like a horse neighing after them. Should they not be punished for such things? This nation deserves retribution.

The bad rulers in Jerusalem (Isa 28:14-28:15)

“Therefore hear the word of Yahweh!

You scoffers!

You rule this people in Jerusalem!

Because you have said.

‘We have made

A covenant with death.

We have an agreement with Sheol.

When the overwhelming scourge

Passes through,

It will not come to us.

We have made lies our refuge.

We have taken shelter in falsehood.’”

Isaiah wanted the scoffers who ruled Jerusalem to listen to the word of Yahweh. However, these arrogant rulers who had given up on Yahweh responded that they had a covenant with death, perhaps with Egypt against Assyria. They had an agreement with Sheol, the underworld afterlife place. They would be safe because of their deal with death. They were going to rely on lies and falsehood as their refuge and shelter.